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How long does a water heater last?
Posted: September 23, 2019

How long does a water heater last?

Your oil-fired water heater is an unsung hero in your home, helping you to keep everything clean (including you!) by providing hot water for your sinks, showers, baths, dishwashers, and clothes washers.

Until it doesn’t – usually when you’re right in the middle of an amazing hot shower.

When might that fateful day arrive for your water heater? The truth is, a water heater’s lifespan depends on several factors – the type of water heater, how well it has been maintained, the quality of the unit, and the quality of the installation being most important among them.

Those qualifiers aside, the average lifespan of a traditional, or “storage-type” water heater (one with a tank) is somewhere between eight and twelve years. The simple reason for this is that water and steel don’t play well together, and eventually corrosion will set in inside the tank (rusty water is a typical indicator of this problem – see below). The anode rod (sometimes called the “sacrificial rod”) inside the tank delays this tank breakdown by attracting corrosive particles to itself rather than the tank lining – but eventually, the anode rod itself will wear out, and the lining will bear the brunt of its demise.

Because it lacks a tank (and regular exposure to water as a result), a tankless water heater can last up to 20 years, sometimes even longer. These “on-demand” appliances are typically also built with higher quality parts, which adds to the longevity. But nothing lasts forever, and eventually, even a tankless water heater will have to be replaced.

How do I know how old my water heater is?

If you purchased your home from another owner – or simply can’t remember when you installed your water heater (it happens), there’s an easy way to find out how old your water heater is.

On the manufacturer’s nameplate (on the side of your water heater) is a serial number, which consists of a letter followed by a series of numbers. The letter stands for the month of manufacture, which range from “A” (January, the first month) through “L” (December, the 12th month). The number numbers that follow after the first letter indicate the year of manufacture. So a label that says B12 was produced in February 2012.

Signs that you need to replace your water heater

No matter how old your water heater is, there are some signs that indicate that the end is near for your equipment. Here are three of the big ones:

If your oil-fired water heater is on its last legs, contact us for service or water heater installation in New Jersey. We’ll get your water heater installed quickly and neatly so you can get back to that glorious hot shower right away!